London’s Science Museum hosts a lovely virtual collection of objects related to medical history. The object above is described as a “pair of artificial arms for a child, Roehampton, England, 1964, noting that the arts were somehow “gas powered” (?). The chid for whom these arms were designed is understood to be a victim of his mother’s prenatal use of Thalidomide, a drug used to assist with sleep and combat morning sickness throughout the 1950s and up until 1962, when it was associated with thousands of infants born with deformed and diminished limbs. The limbs of this “jacket” were controlled by “by the child’s own short limbs or shoulders touching against sensitive valves on the inner surface of the ‘jacket’.” It’s also noted that most prosthetics of this sort were undoubtedly uncomfortable and usually discarded once the child reached teenage years.
Below are some other orthotics from the same site. Only the tip of the iceberg of what’s offered.
Child’s mechanical spinal support, England, 1940-1960
Child’s mechanical spine and head support, England, 1940-1960
Finger splint, England, 1960-1980
Leg and ankle splint, England, 1940-1960
Wrist and hand splint, England, 1960-1980
Catching up with some unpublished photos from October 2011 — from the car crash show with celebrity “Trauma Tales” and blood wrestling at the Steve Allen Theater (10/28,29,30).
Multiple sets with photos by Phil Glau, Jessica Verm, Jon Alloway, and Miles Actually.
Please enjoy responsibly.
Maybe you’ve noticed: we tend to overextend ourselves. Not only does this blog cruelly stimulate and occasionally sate your need for medical curiosities, but it does double duty promoting the tenuously related activities of The Art of Bleeding Magic Ambulance crew. Squeezing in hours to actually produce those ambulance shows can itself be a distraction from blogging. Anything beyond that, and something gives.
That’s when the blog goes black. Immediately after our “Halloween Highway” gore spectacular, your humble blogmaster was summoned away by a past that just won’t quite stay buried. You see, The Art of Bleeding’s absurd spectacles are genetically related to those of The Cacophony Society, a national cabal of pranksters and eccentrics, which is the subject of a recent museum exhibition, which I, as former wrangler of the Los Angeles lodge, was called away to help curate.
It was a mad rush, allowing no time for blogging over even organizing the Art of Bleeding appearance at the exhibition opening February 4. Our ambulance performance this time round was of a highly “improvisational” nature, but we’ll be back with something more… errr, organized, at the April 7 closing party.
In any case, we’re more or less back, and below are some pictures from AoB’s participation in the event. Photos below are courtesy Curious Josh, Lee Joseph Publicity, and The Orange County Register.
(Note: The giant fetus depicted below is from a Cacophony/Art of Bleeding collaboration, the “Prenatal Emergency” installation at Cacophony’s “Museum of Mental Decay.” Here it is in situ.)